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Salvador Dali and Playboy Collaboration - When the Bizarre meets the Erotic

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April 29, 2016
Alias of Ksenija Pantelić

It was as if the most obedient and most erotic Goddesses appeared from another planet to serve and offer pleasure. Listening to directions and allowing for the Master Surrealist painter, to place them in his illusionistic and sexually charged world, marks the day of a weird meeting that took place between Salvador Dali and Playboy magazine. That day in 1973, under the hot Sun in the Spanish town Cadaqués, the villagers gathered on the surrounding hilltops, to feast their eyes upon the naked flesh of the most beautiful symbols for most men’s secret desires, and as the word spread out, it surely proved to be one of the major events for the town, the Playboy magazine, and for the painter Salvador Dali.

salvador dali playboy 2014 music 2011 culture design post photos shop dali
Playboy Bunnies and Salvador Dali’s Egg. Image via art-sheep.com

Salvador Dali and Playboy

The legendary artist, the painter of dreams, illusions, and of the fields of our unconscious mind, Salvador Dali collaborated with the legendary Playboy photographer Pompeo Posar, most famous for his centerfold features and accompanying pictures of women featured as playmate of the month, and created most confusing and at the same time – inviting imagery. The collaboration was both business-like and bizarre. Exiting out of his house, the painter was greeted by his worshipers, chanting “ Master!”, “ Master!”. Taking control and setting up each shot, based on his preliminary sketches, Dali issued his supervisory commands. As if he was the master of these beautiful women, Dali placed them into his own world of illusions granting them immortality and demanding from them total surrender, so he would also look at them and enjoy the voyeuristic position he made for himself and for the world.

salvador dali playboy 2014 music 2011 culture design post photos shop dali
Left: Salvador Dali and the Playboy magazine / Right: Salvador Dali and the Playboy Magazine. Images via art-sheep.com

Salvador Dali’s Images

Obsessive images of eroticism, death, and decay infuse Dali’s work, reflecting his familiarity with and synthesis of the psychoanalytical theories of his time. Referencing often his autobiographical material and childhood memories, Dali’s work is filled with frequently ready-interpreted symbolism, ranging from fetishes, animal imagery, and religious symbols. Discovering early on the psychoanalytical concepts of Freud as well as metaphysical painters like Giorgio de Chirico, Dali consequently began using psychoanalytical methods of mining the subconscious to generate imagery. Digging deep into his fears, Dali’s paintings were notably illustrative of his theories about the psychological state of paranoia and its importance as subject matter. He painted bodies, bones, and symbolic objects that reflected sexualized fears of father figures and impotence.

salvador dali playboy 2014 music 2011 culture design post photos shop dali
Playboy Bunnies and Salvador Dali’s Egg. Image via art-sheep.com

The Morphing Body

The collaboration with the Playboy photographer Pompeo Posar was not the first collaboration of this famous painter and the photographer. In 1951, Dali collaborated with American photographer Philippe Halsman, and the pair worked together on several different projects. Possibly, the most famous one is their work for the project In Voluptars Mors (Voluptuous or Desirable Death). The title was given to the skull composed of seven nude women, and apparently it took over three hours to arrange. Salvador Dali’s fascination with the woman’s body dipped into his secret world of fears and anxieties. The passing of the time was one of the dominant themes in his paintings, turning Salvador Dali’s women into the seductive temptresses, both dangerous and strong, having the sexual powers and the strength to corrupt and contaminate the great master and the rest of humanity. His erotic imagery is loaded with fear and taboo topics, and the need to control is not surprising anymore.

salvador dali playboy 2014 music 2011 culture design post photos shop dali
Left: Salvador Dali – Collaboration with Playboy magazine, cover / Right: Salvador Dali and Playboy collaboration. Images via culturainquieta.com

The Illusion of The Playboy Image

The surrender is just a smokescreen. The women are strong and have allowed being placed into the painter’s illusionistic world of the floating asses, breasts, classical sculptures and different buildings. Knowing all that we know about the painter, maybe we can understand why the large serpent was placed around the model. Possibly there to control her, or not to allow her to come any closer, the woman in the photograph is not so helpless. The image produced presents her as secretly enjoying all the disturbing and wondrous thoughts that are happening in the painter’s mind. Salvador Dali’s erotic Playboy images are collages and should be viewed as a roadmap into the mind of one of the celebrated artists of our time. The erotic is mixed with pain and fear and at the same time is bizarrely playful. The erotic and strange have found their meeting point in the different worlds of Salvador Dali’s sexually charged anxieties.

Editors’ Tip: The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí

Relying on widespread original research and recently discovered sources, the author of this most ambitious biography, Ian Gibson, offers his readers the original portrait of one of this century’s most celebrated artists. This book is an extraordinary insight into the outlandish personality, paranoia and sexual torment lurking behind the nightmarish images that shook the world. Focusing on presenting the artist’s life, from his early troubled youth, to his poignant late years, the book is a must have if you are interested in entering the most celebrated mind of our time. Reflecting upon Dali’s personal life, correspondences, poems, novels, and essays, the book, is a true account of the life of the celebrated surrealist artist.

All images used for illustrative purposes only. All images in the slider present various portrait photographs of the artist Salvador Dali.